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Small victories, large defeats.

Updated: 2017-12-12T22:17:55-05:00


Phillies ‘finalizing’ deal with reliever Tommy Hunter



After some confusion, the Phillies have possibly signed Tommy Hunter. Maybe.

The Phillies have a lot of money to spend this offseason. They won’t spend all of it this go round, but they will spend some. And the last few days, they’ve put money toward relievers. They signed Pat Neshek on Monday, and on Tuesday night, the hot stove actually got to the boiling point. No, seriously! It did!

Just after 8:00 pm, Buster Olney of ESPN tweeted this:


(Please forgive the Slack screenshot. Buster’s tweets are now gone, for reasons you’ll soon understand.)

Addison Reed! He’s not terrible! In fact, he’s been pretty good at various times over the last few years! So we had the name of a reliever, and it was a new name — not someone the Phillies had signed before. Then, Jon Heyman comes in and tries to burst our bubble.

Phillies, Orioles have discussed Manny Machado deal... or have they?



It’s a teeny bit of smoke, but it is smoke

You wanted a splash at this year’s Winter Meetings? We may just have some good news.

According to MASN’s Roch Kubatko, the Phillies and Orioles have had some preliminary discussion surrounding superstar third baseman Manny Machado. Machado, who won’t turn 26 until July, is an absolute stud, a complete player who plays profoundly good defense and hits for both power and average.

He’s set to be a free agent after the 2018 season, and speculation has long stood that Baltimore would be a longshot to retain him past that point. With the Orioles clearly lagging behind the likes of Boston and New York, the club has been rumored to be gauging the market in Machado, as well as the likes of ace reliever Zach Britton, who will also be a free agent next winter.

Kubatko’s piece mentions three names on the Phillies’ side of things: prospects Sixto Sanchez and Scott Kingery, as well as incumbent starting shortstop Freddy Galvis. Sanchez and Kingery, two of the organization’s top chips, feel like obvious inclusions for a player of Machado’s caliber, with the former casually hitting 102 MPH at 19 years of age and the latter closing in on Big League readiness at second base. Galvis’s inclusion makes some sense if the Orioles are looking for a stopgap at short, as their previous starter, J.J. Hardy, has now hit free agency.

That likely wouldn’t be the extent of the deal from a prospect perspective, nor from a bells-and-whistles perspective; Kubatko notes that a 72-hour extension negotiation window would likely come attached to a deal as a condition, allowing the Phillies to potentially secure Machado’s services past 2018. And that’s the only way this deal makes sense for Philadelphia, because they’re not a championship-level team right now, and adding Machado for one year at this great a prospect cost would be beyond foolhardy.

For Baltimore, the time to blow it all up may be at hand. They have valuable players to trade away - none greater than Machado - and this winter may be the time to secure the best possible assets for the future.

For now, consider this rumor as legitimate enough to move us from DEFCON 5 to DEFCON 4. It appears neither serious nor close yet, but these discussions have definitely happened. Stay tuned.

UPDATE, 6:30 p.m. ET:’s Matt Gelb writes that no Machado discussions have taken place yet this offseason. His piece, obviously differing from Kubatko’s, paints a more staid, patient picture of the Phillies’ offseason, with an eye toward next offseason.

We remain at DEFCON 4, but with added trepidation.

Phillies not in the worst shape at MLB Winter Meetings


It’s fun to not be the saddest team arriving in Lake Buena Vista. Lake Buena Vista, Florida; a Disney-controlled Florida hamlet with, according to the 2000 census, 16 full-time residents. Only the most intrepid and potentially drunken explorers venture inside, as four men did a week ago when trying to climb the Tree of Life, a central icon of Disney World’s Animal Kingdom park. They eventually met the same fate of most of their predecessors, and were hauled away by Mouse troopers to “an undisclosed location.” It will be a new breed of adventurer who descends upon the Orlando area this week as executives from 30 Major League Baseball teams hit the Swan and Dolphin Resort for some pool time, some cocktails hours, and in between, a deal or two involving players we’ve heard of. The wheels are already in motion, with Shohei Otani picking the Angels and Giancarlo Stanton forcing himself to be traded to the Yankees. Finally, baseball’s off-season has been pushed into action, giving us more to discuss than the inherent sexiness of labor laws and Hall of Fame debates. Ever since the sport’s two current biggest dominoes fell, it’s been a frenzy of relief pitcher-dealings, bench coach-hirings, and Brandon Morrow. But none of these subplots have involved the Phillies too heavily, which has given everyone plenty of time to roll ideas around in their heads. Let’s put the Phillies’ intentions at the Winter Meetings into a single sentence: If they do something, it’s likely to involve a starting pitcher who is acquired through the means of a Freddy Galvis or Cesar Hernandez trade. Everything else—what if they still want Christian Yelich, what’s this stuff with Carlos Santana, does a grizzled veteran fit into this somewhere, Manny Machado???—is spiraling out of that central issue. And you better believe Matt Klentak, the chief Phillies envoy packing his socks for the Sunshine State on Friday, is being as open and forthcoming with his plans as one would expect: "My expectation is that the market in general -- not so much the Phillies -- is going to open up over the next couple days or certainly next week... Hopefully we'll be able to push something over the goal line this week.” You heard it here first, folks: The Phillies will be aggressively pursuing Bryce Harper. No, not yet anyway. But we’ve all got a little pent-up emotion from the stutter-step of the winter’s proceedings, and columnists stand at the ready to capitalize on that with only the most dynamic of headlines. That’s right, Sandy Alderson held a press conference to announce that Derek Jeter had purchased an ownership stake in the Mets, as well, and had plans to turn them and the Marlins into his literal playthings through a deranged game of human chess to be played in Central Park while he sat in a tree above them and cackled with all the glee of a pompous boy-king. He also said this will count as spring training. Emotions, hyperbole, and vitriol can run pretty high this time of year; if the Phillies are out on anyone, they’ve blown it; if they have to give up anything, they’ve blown it. If they do nothing, they’ve really blown it. But going into the Winter Meetings, even Matt Klentak is winking at the camera. Making a move seems likely, though Klentak has done nothing but establish a reputation of a GM who listens until he hears what he wants to hear. That being said, the Phillies aren’t facing a closing window or a desperate need to unload contracts or a new owner making deals with his old team from his bubble bath. They are able to be patient, methodical, and strategic, for now; the way Andy MacPhail’s front office has operated to this point. It is not the most erotic way to run a baseball team, but the Phillies have advanced their agenda to the point that a few pieces are in place, and some deft moves, including a boost to the rotation, could make this team all the more attractive to a member of the 2018 free agent class. So things could alway[...]

The Dirty Inning, Episode 18: Worrell War One



Tim Worrell was a relief pitcher. But on April 22, he got to take a swing.

In 2004, the Phillies clubhouse was festering in enough hatred to draw blood. “Team chemistry” was less of a bonding experience and more of a meth lab, rattling on the verge of an explosion. Somehow, this did not result in a stellar season, and in one of the team’s 76 losses that cost them their playoff berth, the bullpen blew a lead they wouldn’t get back.

Let Justin and Trevor tell you the story of that lead, how it was loss, and all the violence that occurred in its wake.

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